This coming Tuesday is primary election day. You might not have made up your mind who you wish to vote for, but fortunately this primary is in some ways an easy election. You can only vote in the party you are registered with to nominate a candidate that will go on to the general election in the fall.
Here’s the main point: you need to vote in the primary no matter who you support. You need to get in the habit of voting. Turn it into muscle memory. This November’s general election has the highest stakes for women and our community that we’ve seen in 50 years. To make it even more crucial, pundits and polls currently see a large Republican victory sweep across the country, and they also see Pennsylvania as the top priority of Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate. If that happens the Republicans can codify the outlawing of abortion and the outlawing of marriage equality.
So back to next week’s primary. Think of it as a rehearsal for the fall. First let’s look at the entire ballot in Pennsylvania.
The first item on the ballot you’ll note is the U.S. Senate. Our state can literally be the difference on who controls the U.S. Senate. If Republicans take back the Senate, they will likely have control of both houses Congress since it’s extremely likely they will win the House. But Republicans winning the Senate would be even more catastrophic for our community. Perhaps the most important thing they can do is refuse to confirm Biden’s judicial & other appointments.
Mitch McConnell single handedly voided Roe v. Wade by refusing to seat Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016. He also refused a vote on many of Obama’s federal judges and got his party to confirm numerous Trump judges.
It’s not just the Supreme Court that matters. Federal judges serve for life, and they also rule on things like abortion.
But if Democrats maintain control of the Senate, we’ll be able to not only seat more federal judges, but if a Supreme Court seat opens up in the next two years, Biden’s choice will be able to be voted on and, most likely, confirmed. That would not happen under a Republican-led Senate.
Lt. Governor is another race where any on the Democratic field will support a progressive agenda. But the main key to this race is who will help Josh Shapiro win the governor’s race. This is the more serious of all the other races. Josh Shapiro has chosen Rep Austin Davis of Allegheny county as his choice to be Lt. Governor. So have almost all Democratic Leaders in the state, as well as the overwhelmingly force of LGBT Elected officials in the state. They do so for a number of reasons. Davis’ competition for the Lt. Governor nomination, Brian Sims, is a loose cannon. There are articles on his outbursts, the lack of any legislation success after 10 years, and then there is the IRS tax lien. He would be a distraction in the campaign for governor, as any political activist in Pennsylvania would tell you. And you don’t put up two Philadelphia men for a statewide race.
The team of Josh and Austin gives the governor’s race the demography, geography, diplomacy and lack of controversy to win in the general election in November. It also assures that we have a firewall between Republicans in Harrisburg passing whatever laws they want. Considering what is happening with Roe v. Wade, Pennsylvania needs that firewall.
Then there is the State House seat in the 182nd district, which includes the gayborhood. Again all would be supportive of the issues close to our heart. Of the four candidates, two are from our community. Of the other two Ben Waxman has a proven record on LGBT rights. Will Gross has none. The two from our community, Jonathan Lovitz and Deja Alvarez, each have different skill sets. In our opinion, Jonathan Lovitz is a perfect fit due to his work in helping big and small business grow, a record of legislative success including in four counties in PA, support from an overwhelming list of unions, anti violence activism, support from business leaders, and the most professional campaign from an LGBT candidate for office that we’ve ever seen in the city.
But beyond the details of the ballot, let’s not forget the main point: go out and vote, even if it is for the candidates we didn’t endorse. It is your vote, and your opinion matters and should be respected. Then if you are so inclined, volunteer to help with the general election in November. It will be a tough and hard fought battle up and down the ballot, and it will decide if Pennsylvanian become a pro life or or a pro choice state. It will also set the stage for outlawing marriage equality or keeping it legal. The stakes could not be higher.
Again, go out and vote!